I have this cross stitch project that I have started working on last year but I was only able to spend a week or two on it because I had to do other more important stuff. As I’m trying to limit my pending works to a minimum, yes I have a few, mostly huge crochet projects that I needed to leave for a while to make other crafts or just to take a break from the monotony of crocheting, I made up my mind to finish my cross stitch work in progress and not do any other crafty thing for a month or two, I even took a short break from blogging.
I’ve been cross stitching for a couple of weeks and I’ve noticed how hard it is to work on a fabric this size. I rolled it up and only expose the part I’m working on as it’s always done to keep the fabric neat. At first, the rolled up aida cloth was stiff so it was just smooth but as I work on it, I needed to change its position or where I handle it and turn it over and back from time to time, it gets limper so it’s easily folded and bent, now it’s crumpled and has creases all over.
Here it is, to give you an idea how big the fabric actually is and what I’m talking about, see those creases? I’m not really stitching on the whole thing, I have some extra inches on all sides but still, it’s a big cross stitch project, and I’m using 16 count aida cloth so the squares are really small. This might just be easy peasy for avid cross stitchers but this is a bit challenging for me, the last time I cross stitched was more than a decade ago and the biggest I made wasn’t even half the size of this.
With my fabric situation, I gotta admit that the stitch tension is pretty messed up and I’m afraid I might get a not so nice finish. So, I’m in dire need of a scroll frame to keep the fabric smooth and my work easier. Alas, there’s no available scroll frame anywhere here in Manila, I’ve called more than five craft stores and all they have are embroidery hoops which just wouldn’t work for me. I’ve found out about this online shop here selling imported craft stuff but I need to have it pre-ordered based on their pre-ordering schedule then I gotta wait for the shipping time after that so I have to wait for at least two months and it’s not cheap, as well, I need to cough up a few thousand pesos. I tried to just order it from the US myself and have it shipped here and after all the charges, I needed to pay more than 100$. I feel that it’s just not worth spending money on this, I’m not even sure if I’m gonna do another cross stitch or other needlework projects after this, it’s probably going to be a one-time use, anyway. The solution? DIY!
Tada! My very own cross stitch scroll frame and I only spent Php 60 (a little over $1) just for the PVC pipe, I have the rest of the materials in my craft supplies.
Here’s how it’s done. I asked my husband to buy me a pair of 30-inch long PVC pipes, these will be the scroll rods. I want the frame to fit on my table because it’s where I work. My fabric roll is a bit longer than 30 inches so I cut 2 inches from each side to fit the length of the rods. The hardware store sells pre-cut 10-ft long 20mm pipes for Php 60, it was the smallest and the lightest they have. My husband had the pipe cut in the store based on the measurements I gave him, since I only needed 60 inches for this project, I still have an extra that will surely be useful in the future.
I could just use the pipes like that but they look depressing to me so I decoupaged them with patterned paper.
For the extender bars, I cut out card boards. They’re 12 x 2 inches. I have wood bars that I could use for this but I don’t have a tool for drilling holes. I recommend using wood if available and you have a hole saw or a drill that can do the work.
I carved out holes the size of the pipes on the boards using X-Acto knife.
The card boards are not thick so I had to glue two together to make one bar. I wanted to glue more boards together to make the bar thicker but carving the holes was a lot of work so I settled for two.
Again, not necessary, but I wrapped the bars with patterned paper. What can I do, I love colors! I didn’t smoothen out the paper around the holes to add grip when the scroll rods are inserted into the holes.
A knob can be added on each end of the scroll rods but I just settled on adding circumference to the rods by wrapping a rubber band and a few rounds of masking tape so they won’t slip through the holes of the extender bars.
It’s done. Using masking tape, I attached one edge of the fabric to one of the rods and did the the same to the other and just rolled them in. As shown in the pictures above, the fabric just rolls in and rolls out just fine.
No more problem with bending and creasing. I’ve been using this for a week already and I’m happy with it. Regarding the tension, I must admit I couldn’t get the fabric to really stretch and stay tight because my DIY frame doesn’t have a lock system, it stays stretched and straight for a while but would loosen a bit after working on it for several minutes. The key to keeping a nice tension - large binder clips, I just attach one on the rolled up fabric around one rod, roll in the fabric on the other rod until I get a good stretch then attach another binder clip on it, I use two to four binder clips at a time.
To elevate the frame so I would have a nice space under the fabric where I can get my hand into when I’m stitching, I just put the extender bars on top of a couple of books, so the books serve as stands on both sides of the the frame. I first thought of making the extender bars high so it would serve as a stand as well but I guess it would make it harder to turn it over every time I needed to work on the back of the fabric so I just made them 2 inches.
I love how this turned out. It made my cross stitching moments easier and organized. If ever I decide to do more cross stitch projects and buy a nice scroll frame, I would get the one with a floor stand, with bars to clip on lamps, magnifying lens and the pattern. It’s too pricey for me but I would love to have one, I guess I would be inspired to cross stitch a lot if I have it, lol. Oh, forget about that, I’m not even halfway through this one I’m working on. Focus!
Gotta go, lots to do. Bye!
***Update: I was just able to contact DMC Creative World in Megamall (their contact numbers posted online are no longer available, I called the Focus Global main office and asked for the new one - it’s 625-2651), I had to try again because I have a good feeling about this, it’s just too bad I kept calling them two weeks ago and the lines weren’t working, and guess what? They have a 36-inch scroll frame with table top stand for Php 3,285 (roughly $69), not bad. It’s just a little big for my table. They used to have other sizes, too, but they’re out of stock. I’m happy with the frame I made but I’ll definitely check this out later.